When life seems to be feeling a bit stagnant, I crave change.  Small changes or large, shaking things up a bit can have an invigorating effect.  Usually this manifests itself in a spontaneous rearranging of furniture, or joining a new knit-along.  Too much change at once though, and I risk getting lost in a swirl of to-do lists, packed calendars, and feeling uncertain of everything.

We’re walking a fine line these days.   The changes are coming swiftly now, and so we are doing our best as a family to be thoughtful, pragmatic, and proactive in our actions.  Opening a yarn shop has created waves farther out than I initially imagined, affecting people and activities in ways I hadn’t anticipated.  I have a certain level of guilt and grief about taking on my own big project outside the home and changing our lives so profoundly.

Becerra Photography

These days, our rhythms as a family are taking on an entirely new tone.  Where once I was a stay at home mama and felt no sense of rush at the beginning of a new day, now I am a working mom and wife with a lot going on outside the home for the first time in years.  While I am thrilled to be creating my own dream job, it’s also painful to let go of another dream job.  For that is just what staying home has been for me, challenges and all.  I have loved staying home with PB, witnessing every moment of her young life in a very intimate way.  And next week, PB goes from stay at home little to an enrollee at a Montessori morning program for toddlers.  More change.

When I’m at work, I worry about what I’m missing in PB’s day, and when I’m home, I struggle to stop thinking about the shop.  Being present in the moment is taking a little more effort on my part than usual. The good news is, I have a very family friendly boss who understands all of this and is willing to make certain sacrifices to spend as much time at home as possible.

Becerra Photography

Along with not being a being a stay at home mom anymore, I will no longer be a stay at home wife.  This means the structure of our domestic life is changing, too; job sharing, meal prep, laundry and errands will all be divvied up in a new way.  I’m sure that this will take some time to iron out as we both get used to letting go of old expectations and adjusting to our new normal.

Folks, this is a lot of change.  It keeps me up at night sometimes, worrying about what I’ve done by deciding to start my own business.  In my heart, I know it is right, that to pursue this dream is something I couldn’t not do.  I have watched my own mother pursue her dreams independently of being a mother, and I admire her for it.  And yet, in the pit of my stomach (especially late at night) I worry that this is all a huge mistake that could irrevocably damage our little family.

Becerra Photography

Change is swirling around me, and as I reach for an anchor to hold onto, I have to remember to be patient and gentle with myself.  To find time to add rhythm and fun to all the schedule changes.  It takes time to adjust to new routines and expectations, but it will happen.

Working parents, how do you do it?  What are some coping strategies or rhythms you’ve found to be helpful in times of great change?

*Photos are from a recent shoot we did with Chris of Becerra Photography.  It was a wonderful experience!  If you’re in Oregon, check him out!

Creating Time

Have you seen the Winter Issue of Petite Purls?  There’s some great knitting projects for the wee ones in your life, as well as a great essay by Laura Healy.  She sums up a few points I have been thinking a lot about since becoming a mother who knits, the sum of which can be boiled down to these points:

Invest. Keep it simple. Spread it out. Bring it along. Stop cleaning so much. Be Selfish.

Music to my ears!

The facts of my life have change dramatically in the last 11 months, but the one constant is my need to knit and be creative.  Having a baby and packing up house, moving across the country take a lot of mental and physical energy.  The one thing that brings me back to calm and restores my reserves is knitting.  This was true before, and is even more critical to my well-being now that I am a mother.

It has been hard for me to let go of some of the things I think a Good Mother should be before she takes care of herself.  I thought she should be selfless, entirely focused on her children at all times, make nutritious meals 3 times a day, not care about movies or makeup, not want to go out without her children, and on and on.  For me, being a good mother means loving and caring for yourself as well as your children.  If I haven’t vacuumed all week but I did finish a knitting project, it’s okay.

So, during PB’s morning nap time, I do a cursory sweep of household duties, taking care of anything that absolutely cannot wait.  Usually this is doing some dishes, or tossing in a load of laundry.  I give this 10-15 minutes, max.  Then I sit down with some coffee and log into Ravelry, or get out my knitting and just breathe.  This is my time, and it is important.  As parents we give so much to others; why not make time to give just a little bit back to ourselves?

Since I started relaxing at naptime instead of frantically trying to Get It All Done, I have become a much more peaceful mama.  When I hear her begin to stir, I am almost always still in my PJs, happily having made progress on one project or another.  I scurry to get dressed, then go get my baby girl with a clear head and give her my all.

Until her afternoon nap that is, when I’m already planning on getting out that pair of socks-in-progress and watching the most recent episode of 30 Rock.

How do you take care of yourself as a creative person?